The lipase test is a simple blood test ordered by your physician to measure the level of lipase in your blood. Lipase is an enzyme that helps the intestines to break down fats. Certain levels of lipase are required to maintain digestive function. High and low levels of lipase can lead to serious health problems. So, we highly recommend everyone to get tested for lipase levels if you experience any of the symptoms that are caused by high or low lipase levels.
The article below covers all the significant topics that are relevant to the lipase blood test. We cover lipase test cost, normal lipase levels, symptoms, procedure, preparation, risks, and how to get tested for a lipase blood test.
For our readers, who are very much interested in knowing the lipase test cost beforehand, we would like to begin with that section.
How much does a lipase test cost?
Lipase test cost ranges between $39 and $55 in different labs and facilities across the U.S. To view and compare the prices of lipase test in different labs offered by different providers, click the button below.
Lipase test cost with insurance
Most of the health insurance policies in the U.S. cover the cost of the lipase test. However, the coverage offered by private health insurance companies and national health insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid varies widely. So we recommend you to check the coverage of your health insurance plan with the insurance company before getting tested for lipase levels.
Our lipase testing providers do not accept any kind of health insurance plan. But, on request, they can provide you with an itemized receipt containing all the details like the name and code of the test, and CPT code that is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.
What is lipase?
Lipase is an enzyme that is produced by the pancreas during digestion. The pancreas is a large gland located behind the stomach and it secretes digestive enzymes in the pancreatic duct. Lipase enzyme is released into the digestive tract and helps the intestines to break down the fats in the food that you are eating.
Why is a lipase test done?
The lipase test is done to measure the levels of lipase in the blood. This test helps to diagnose pancreatic disorders such as a blockage in the pancreas, pancreatic cyst, and pancreatic inflammation (pancreatitis).
Your physician will order a lipase test if you experience the following symptoms that are caused by pancreatic disorders or if you are at a higher risk of getting pancreatic diseases.
- Severe pain in the abdomen
- Severe back pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Foul-smelling stools
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid pulse
- Weight loss
- A family history of pancreatitis
- Gall stones
- High triglycerides (a type of fat)
- Excess consumption of alcohol
The lipase test is also done to monitor the effectiveness of ongoing treatment for any pancreatic disorder. Sometimes, this test is also ordered to monitor other conditions such as
- Crohn’s disease (inflammation of the digestive tract)
- Celiac disease
- Peritonitis (inflammation of the lining of the inner abdominal wall)
- Infarcted bowel (bowel that has restricted the blood supply)
- Cystic fibrosis (a hereditary disorder that produces thick mucus resulting in the damage of organs)
Normal levels of lipase
Generally, certain levels of lipase are required to maintain normal digestive and cell function. The normal lipase levels vary based on age, gender, health history, and method of testing. According to Mayo Medical Laboratories, the standard lipase levels in adults above 16 are 10 to 73 U/L (units per liter of blood).
How is the lipase test done?
The lipase test is a simple test done with a sample of blood.
During this test, a lab technician or a phlebotomist will cleanse the area to be injected with an antiseptic liquid and wrap an elastic band around the upper arm to make the vein visible and pool with blood. He/she then injects a needle to draw a sample of blood. After the blood is drawn, he/she will ask you to apply pressure on the insertion site with a band-aid or a cotton ball to stop bleeding. The blood sample that is collected in a test tube is sent to the lab for further testing.
It takes less than 5 to 10 minutes to perform this test.
Is there any preparation required before the test?
There is no special preparation required for the lipase blood test. There is no constraint on the diet. But, your physician may ask you to stop certain medications that include birth control pills, codeine, morphine, and thiazide diuretics and herbal supplements. Because these medications and supplements can affect the results of the test.
If you have any abnormal bleeding disorder, inform your physician before the test.
Are there any risks in the test?
There are no possible risks or complications in the lipase blood test. Sometimes, after the blood sample is drawn, you might feel dizziness, slight pain, bruise or redness in the injected area for a very little period.
What does the test result mean?
The high and low lipase levels indicate different medical conditions.
If the lipase levels are lower than the normal, it indicates that there is permanent damage to the pancreatic cells that produce lipase. This can be caused by chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas that doesn’t heal or improve) or cystic fibrosis.
If the lipase levels are unusually higher than normal, it indicates several conditions such as
- Acute pancreatitis (sudden inflammation of the pancreas)
- Pancreatic cancer
- Celiac disease
- Gall stones
- Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu that causes inflammation of the stomach and the intestines)
- Bowel obstruction
- Cholecystitis (sudden inflammation of the gall bladder)
- Cirrhosis (scarring of liver tissue)
- Kidney failure
If appropriate and necessary, your physician will also order an amylase blood test which is another important digestive enzyme and other imaging tests such as MRI and CT to look at the pancreas.
How to treat high and low lipase levels?
In most cases, higher lipase levels are associated with acute pancreatitis. If this condition is found at an early stage, intravenous fluids and certain medications will be prescribed by your physician to treat the condition. As a result, the lipase levels will be lowered. If other conditions are responsible for higher lipase levels, then receiving treatment should bring the lipase level back to normal.
In the case of low lipase levels, some medications and therapies might be prescribed to treat the conditions that cause low lipase levels.
The lipase test can be done in any of the following locations across the U.S. by visiting the nearest lab. To know the lipase test cost, refer to the first section of the article.
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